In today’s Wall Street Journal, Julian Simon’s inspiration is evident: I offer to bet up to a total of $10,000 that the number of Americans who will be killed over the next 20 years by tornados, floods, and hurricanes will be fewer than are the number who were killed in the immediately preceding 20 years. Here are my closing paragraphs:
So confident am I that the number of deaths from violent storms will continue to decline that I challenge Mr. McKibben—or Al Gore, Paul Krugman, or any other climate-change doomsayer—to put his wealth where his words are. I’ll bet $10,000 that the average annual number of Americans killed by tornadoes, floods and hurricanes will fall over the next 20 years. Specifically, I’ll bet that the average annual number of Americans killed by these violent weather events from 2011 through 2030 will be lower than it was from 1991 through 2010.
If environmentalists really are convinced that climate change inevitably makes life on Earth more lethal, this bet for them is a no-brainer. They can position themselves to earn a cool 10 grand while demonstrating to a still-skeptical American public the seriousness of their convictions.
But if no one accepts my bet, what would that fact say about how seriously Americans should treat climate-change doomsaying?
Do I have any takers?
Tim Blair – Wednesday, June 01, 11 (04:44 am)
“Everything that is wrong with the human race.” – Cate Blanchett’s opinion of leaf blowers, October 2007.
“The arts binds communities, it liberates demons, it challenges authorities, warms our hearts and cools our tempers.’’ – but it can’t get leaves off your driveway. Cate speaks out in 2008.
“He liked talking to blonde artists, he said, because they existed just a fraction ahead of culture.” – at the 2020 Summit, Cate recalls a previous meeting with President Bill Clinton.
“The arts operate at the core of human identity and existence.” – Cate in 2010. Employment is probably important, too.
“Our job is to change reality, to challenge it, not prove it and explain it.” – Cate can sometimes be difficult to understand.
Cate consults expert reality-changer Peter Garrett
“We change people’s lives, at the risk of our own. We change countries, governments, history, gravity. After gravity, culture is the thing that holds humanity in place, in an otherwise constantly shifting and, let’s face it, tiny outcrop in the middle of an infinity of nowhere.” – according to Cate, without culture (and, credit where it’s due, gravity) we’d be floating around like fungus spores.
‘’It’s in the mind of the artist the future is imagined. You say that loudly in this country, and you sound pretentious …”– oh, hardly at all, Cate. Honestly.
“Finally doing something about climate change.” – Cate’s line in the controversial “Say Yes” carbon tax promotion.
“Cate Blanchett has dismissed attacks by Tony Abbott and other opponents of a carbon price, saying she will continue to do all she can to tackle climate change.” – Cate isn’t backing down, the SMH reports.
“Blanchett hits the big stage in Britain.” – on May 26, Reuters announces that Cate will fly to London for a major theatre production next year. Still doing all she can to tackle climate change.
Tim Blair – Wednesday, June 01, 11 (04:42 am)
In the state where people have most reason to swear, new laws against swearing:
Australians may have a love of plain speaking but new laws are set to curtail some of their more colourful language with police issuing on-the-spot fines for obnoxious swearing.
The country’s second most populous state Victoria is due to approve new legislation this week under which police will be able to slap fines of up to Aus$240 (US$257) on people using offensive words or phrases.
This is personal. Many members of my family still live in Victoria, and based on past behaviour they’ll be bankrupt within 15 minutes. Certain uncles use a popular obscenity as their version of “umm”. Seriously – it’s a pause word. They could get busted just for trying to remember something.
The Bunyip has further news on Victorian justice, although reading it may provoke Victorian language law violations.
Tim Blair – Wednesday, June 01, 11 (04:38 am)
Tim Blair – Wednesday, June 01, 11 (04:21 am)
Here’s one enviro-tax that’s working out perfectly:
World-class research into future sources of green energy is under threat in Britain from an environmental tax designed to boost energy efficiency and drive down carbon emissions, scientists claim …
Britain’s main funding body for research centres, the Science and Technology Facilities Council, is trying to persuade ministers to rethink how the scheme applies to scientific laboratories. The STFC’s bill will “inevitably” mean less funding for research across its centres, the Guardian has been told.
(Via Benny Peiser)
Tim Blair – Wednesday, June 01, 11 (03:20 am)
Tim Blair – Tuesday, May 31, 11 (07:55 pm)
Dennis Atkins observes Albanese’s antics:
Labor’s chief parliamentary tactician Anthony Albanese was wishing new life for the Government’s case on Monday, managing to rouse his side’s back bench in a way not seen for many a long opinion poll.
Repeating his claim Abbott’s constant negativity was like blowing the plastic vuvuzela at sporting games, Albanese said “it’s just annoying”.
Kind of like when Julia Gillard threatens the “big polloodahs”. Or whenever Albanese is awake.
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 01, 11 (10:18 am)
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 01, 11 (07:05 am)
SILLY me. I assumed the Left hated my boss because he allegedly told us what to write.
That’s what I took to be the sting of the latest conspiracy theory, reported in the Sunday Age by Bruce Guthrie, the sacked Herald Sun editor-in-chief.
Wrote Guthrie: “Rupert Murdoch has let it be known within his organisation that Australia needs change in Canberra and his editors (are) simply doing his bidding.”
To be fair, Guthrie doubted Murdoch had issued such a direct order, but did insinuate his editors had got the hint.
That suggestion was eagerly seized by ABC talkback callers and denounced.
But now I see Murdoch’s sin is not that he dictates to his editors but that he does not. Or not as the Left wishes.
Entrepreneur Dick Smith, at the launch of his book on population policy, declared this week that Murdoch’s Australian newspapers were defying their boss’s global warming stand ("give the planet the benefit of the doubt") and needed bringing to heel. Murdoch, in short, had to tell us what to write.
“Rupert, I ask you to come back to Australia,” Smith cried.
“Come back and take the reins, your editors are losing the plot and need to be reminded that you accept we must transform the way we use energy and that we need to act now.”
Of course, Smith’s demand for more Murdoch interference can’t be said to be endorsed by the Left generally.
Yet soon after the 2007 election, ABC radio host Jon Faine did declare to Guthrie, then my editor, that Labor’s win showed the times had changed, and perhaps Murdoch’s conservative columnists should be “cleansed”.
“Have some of the staples of the media in the Howard era worn out their usefulness as we enter a Rudd era?” Faine mused.
“I’m going to talk in particular about columnists and, Bruce, you have some notorious ones of your own . . . So you’re not going through a cleansing process?”
Again, just a throwaway line, perhaps. But I’ve also lately wondered why I’ve heard so little on the subject of free speech lately from those of the Left who once denounced the Howard government for apparently muffling the press and stifling debate.
Why, I ask in self-pity, do I not now hear a “with you, brother” word on free speech from, say, journalist David Marr, Professor Clive Hamilton, Professor Robert Manne or human rights lawyer Julian Burnside?
Is it, as Smith demonstrates, that the only free speech the Left demands is its own?
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 01, 11 (07:02 am)
IF THE science on global warming is so good, why are we told such lies?
That is the true disgrace of those behind the ad that features Cate Blanchett telling us to “say yes” to the Gillard Government’s carbon dioxide tax.
It’s not that it stars a multi-millionaire actor blithely instructing the little people to pay a tax that she wouldn’t even feel herself.
It’s not that it stars a hypocrite telling us to cut our emissions while she herself jets off to Cannes, New York and LA, and helps to flog luxury Audi cars.
No, it’s the lies that should shame Blanchett and the ad’s other star, Michael Caton, of Packed to the Rafters, who are not responsible for them, but speak the lines put in their mouths.
It’s the flagrant lies in this ad that should shame all the green groups and unions which made the wretched thing—and that should warn the rest of us there is much less to this scare than such shameless people claim.
How dare they? And where are the regulators? Does the Advertising Standards Bureau exempt global warming alarmists from its demand that “ads shall not be misleading or deceptive”?
The lies start with the very first shot of the ad, showing Caton standing under black skies made filthy by a power station billowing soot --labelled “carbon”.
Says Caton: “What if we say yes to making big companies pay when they pollute our skies? We’d be saying yes to less carbon pollution.”
Stop right there.
First, where in Australia are our skies black with “carbon”?
Answer: nowhere. The ad describes a problem we don’t actually have.
Do our power stations—the main target of the carbon dioxide tax—actually belch out black smoke like that?
No. Most coal-fired ones here emit little more than steam and invisible gas. Drive past one and see for yourself.
So what power station are we shown in this ad?
The Battersea plant in Britain.
Does it vomit out black soot like that?
No, it was closed almost 30 years ago.
So will the Government’s tax close the Battersea plant? Don’t be an idiot.
Well, will the tax at least remove that sooty carbon in our skies Caton wants gone?
No, because the sign perched over Caton’s head deceives, too. The Government’s “carbon” tax is not actually designed to remove carbon, which is a solid, but carbon dioxide, which is a gas that’s invisible, as you can see when you breathe out.
And that is what makes Blanchett’s big scene completely wrong.
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 01, 11 (07:01 am)
ONE idea in Ross Garnaut’s report to the Gillard Government yesterday must be fought by every democrat.
No, this country must not let its future be decided by an unelected committee.
It’s already bad enough that we’ll get a foolish tax the Government promised before the election not to impose.
But sneaking around the people’s will seems the mission of today’s warmist.
Garnaut, the Government’s global warming guru, yesterday recommended an “independent” committee decide how much we cut our emissions - which, in turn, influences the level of any carbon dioxide tax.
This essentially means unelected people will decide how much to jack up your bills for power and petrol, and everything made with them.
Yes, their call can be overruled by the Government, but the aim is to make a political decision “non-political”.
The Government seems keen on Garnaut’s plan because of the very reason it should never be adopted.
Labor and the Greens are squabbling right now over how much to cut our emissions in their negotiations over next year’s carbon dioxide tax.
Labor wants our emissions cut by much less than the Greens demand, because it fears what voters might do to it once they realise what this useless sacrifice will cost.
But if an “independent” committee made that decision, the Government could claim its own hands were clean. Blame the committee, instead.
This is frankly sold as an anti-democratic move that warmists need.
As one media report approvingly noted: “Garnaut has concluded the only safe way to manage a carbon price going forward is to keep politicians as far away from the process as possible.”
You can punish politicians. Bureaucrats, you can’t. So Garnaut’s plan will leave the policies to people beyond your influence.
That may please Garnaut, but the rest of us should fight.
Already we will get a tax we didn’t vote for. Now we are told the tax will be overseen by people we’ll never vote for.
Protest. Do not surrender your power.
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 01, 11 (06:54 am)
BUREAUCRATS boozed and scoffed their way through a $45,000 taxpayer-financed Film Victoria farewell party described by a State Government minister as an “outrageous and sinful waste of money”.
The farewell for Film Victoria chief executive Sandra Sdraulig has resulted in the future of the government body being called into question in a review.
Despite offering grants of only $2000 to many Australian film producers, the bureaucrats and their friends ate and drank their way through almost $30,000 worth of food and booze in only three hours on March 22 while patting Ms Sdraulig on the back for her nine years in charge.
They spent $10,601.81 making a DVD tribute to Ms Sdraulig and more than $1000 on having photos taken for the gala cocktail party at the GPO.
Would these people have thrown a party so lavish if they’d had to pay for it themselves?
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 01, 11 (06:51 am)
TAXPAYERS face greater liabilities for construction delays or cost blowouts during the building of the National Broadband Network under a revamped tender process in which the government-owned NBN Co will take on more risks to keep down bidder costs.
The Australian can reveal that NBN Co will today announce the revised contract…
In April, the NBN Co suspended indefinitely the main construction tender - usually referred to as the volume rollout - claiming the bids lodged by the 14 shortlisted construction firms were too high....
Under the previous tender terms, most of the risk for cost overruns, delays and design defects would have been borne by the contractor. But the revamped agreement structure, which uses alliance-style contracting, will increase the NBN Co’s liability for any project blowouts....
On ABC’s Lateline program last night, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy refused to reveal if NBN Co’s budget for the main construction tender had blown out, saying only, “we are expecting NBN Co to meet their budget”.
Industry insiders suggest NBN Co has been keen to keep construction costs between $10 billion and $12bn. It is believed several submissions for the aborted tender had modelled for the cost to be closer to $16bn and higher.
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 01, 11 (06:42 am)
Warming evangelist Ross Garnaut complains:
I think the tone of the current discourse is less civilised than that in the old political culture.
Garnaut yesterday demonstrates:
THE climate adviser, Ross Garnaut, has lashed Australian business for playing a ‘’spoiler’’ role in the carbon price debate, saying it is putting short-sighted ‘’self-interest’’ ahead of the national interest.
He singled out the Business Council of Australia and its president, Graham Bradley, the BlueScope Steel chairman Graeme Kraehe, the BHP Billiton chairman Jacques Nasser and the LNG and coal industries, and accused the business lobby of sliding back to a pre-1980s anti-reform culture that had left Australia with ‘’the worst productivity in the Western world’’.
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 01, 11 (06:36 am)
Graham Lloyd is right, and I suspect I know which universe does not include Ross Garnaut:
FOR anyone with any doubts,Russia, Japan and Canada officially told the G8 meeting of the world’s leading economies in Deauville, France, at the weekend they would not join a post-Kyoto deal that does not include emissions reductions from developing countries such as China.
US President Barack Obama used the G8 dinner to confirm that like Kyoto Mark 1, the US is not interested in what has been seen as a Eurocentric global agreement.
The death of Kyoto came as the International Energy Agency ... (said the world’s) emissions are estimated to have climbed to a record 30.6 Gigatonnes (Gt), a 5 per cent jump from the previous record year in 2008, when levels reached 29.3Gt.
IEA chief economist Fatih Birol says the significant increase in CO2 emissions and the locking in of future emissions due to infrastructure investments represent a serious setback to hopes of limiting the global rise in temperature to no more than 2C.
Given these twin realities it will be possible to conclude that Australia’s climate change debate - as outlined by Ross Garnaut in his final report to Prime Minister Julia Gillard yesterday - is being conducted in a parallel universe.
The government’s key climate change adviser has argued that Australia adopt the Gillard government’s carbon tax, which would link into a global trading scheme some time in the future.
He says he is convinced the science of climate change is sound and that the rest of the world is taking action.
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 01, 11 (06:22 am)
The excuse for massive wealth redistribution makes global warming alarmism even more tempting for the Left:
Julia Gillard’s chief climate change adviser, Ross Garnaut, who handed his final report to the government yesterday, has called for compensation to be provided only to those on incomes up to $80,000, while higher income earners would have their tax rates or thresholds altered to ensure they did not receive any benefits from the increase in the tax-free threshold…
Under his plan to distribute carbon tax revenue, Professor Garnaut recommended 55 per cent be given to households, about $6.3 billion under a $26-a-tonne carbon price...
Already the Gillard Government is running for cover:
Government sources said last night the cut-off at which higher income earners would not receive carbon tax compensation was likely to be “well north” of $80,000.
Oh, the licence given to the Big Government brigade:
Garnaut has recommended the establishment of three new bodies to administer a carbon tax. These include:
- An independent committee to advise on targets, coverage, scheme reviews, the switch to a floating price and progress on international action.
- An independent carbon bank to regulate the carbon pricing scheme.
- An independent agency to develop recommendations for a new assistance regime for emissions intensive, trade exposed industries to operate after the initial three-year interim period.
Terry McCrann warns of much, much worse to come:
But if we are to achieve the change in energy sources that is needed to get the 5 per cent cut in emissions, the effective tax will have to go to at least $70 a tonne.
That means that whether or not we pay it as a tax, we WILL be paying that sort of sum. Which will feed into the price of everything - including health and education and food that were and still are excluded for the GST.
At $70 a tonne, Canberra would reap close to $30 billion - to be ‘returned.’
Do you trust this prime minister and this treasurer with the handling of that sort of money? Indeed, would you trust any PM and treasurer?
With Garnaut proposing such grand schemes, ABC AM may be forgiven its confusion, calling him ”President Garnaut” at 3:47.
(Thanks to reader Smiff.)
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 01, 11 (06:14 am)
A warning that all may not be well with the Budget forecasts, either:
THE Reserve Bank could hold off raising interest rates next week, with the economy likely to show its biggest contraction in two decades after the string of natural disasters took a greater financial toll than expected.
If there really is an economic contraction, the difficulty of selling a carbon dioxide tax rises.
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 01, 11 (06:06 am)
This is Europe’s future. How it responds - or fails to - will be one of the greatest issues the continent faces this century:
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 01, 11 (05:53 am)
ON May 10, WikiLeaks founder and whistle-blowing head honcho Julian Assange was awarded the Sydney Peace Foundation’s gold medal for his “exceptional courage in pursuit of human rights”.
A few days later a newly leaked internal contract revealed that Assange requires employees to sign a pledge not to disclose any of the organisation’s classified information. Failure to comply, says the contract, will lead to a pound stg. 12 million ($18.5m) fine.
At a May 16 gala dinner at the Sydney Opera House, Malcolm Fraser (and his co-author Margaret Simons) picked up the Book of the Year prize in the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards for Malcolm Fraser: The Political Memoirs, a book panned by some critics as Fraser’s attempt to re-write history.
At the Sydney Writers Festival on May 20, John Howard, author of Australia’s bestselling political autobiography, was jeered by protesters, some labelling the former prime minister a war criminal. At the same event, confessed terrorist supporter David Hicks was given a standing ovation.
Looking back over the cultural landscape these past few months, a particularly moribund mosaic emerges from those claiming to be left-wing intellectuals.
Andrew Bolt – Wednesday, June 01, 11 (05:44 am)
And does Ms Branson demand compensation and an apology from the murderer?
THE Human Rights Commissioner, Catherine Branson, wants the federal government to pay $500,000 compensation and apologise to a Chinese man convicted of double murder who has been refused a visa.
The man, ‘’NK’’, has been held in immigration detention at Villawood since his release from prison in 2006. He cannot be sent back to China because the Immigration Department believes there is a ‘’real risk’’ of him being tried again for the murders and executed.
Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, May 31, 11 (02:35 pm)
There was Julia herself at it again today using the term “carbon pollution” or variants no less than 23 times in one column. She managed an extraordinary six uses of the term in just two successive sentences.
We all know the utterly disgraceful game that you and she and the rest of your colleagues are playing - lying about “carbon pollution”, to create the impression your climate policy is designed to stop the emission of dirty bits of grit…
That a prime minister and a deputy prime minister and indeed every member of Cabinet would be so relentlessly dishonest with the country is utterly beyond - very grubby - comparison. It is unbelievable but for the fact it is happening.
Last year, global CO2 emissions rose by 1.6 gigatonnes to 30.6 gigatonnes, according to the International Energy Agency, The Guardian newspaper has reported. That increase alone is equal to nearly four times our total emissions.
And we intend to cut by 5 per cent by 2020. That is to say, the world will “make up” for the cuts that it will take us nine years to achieve, in five days!
Andrew Bolt – Tuesday, May 31, 11 (02:09 pm)
Professor Ross Garnaut, the Gillard Government’s global warming guru, tells the truth:
Julia Gillard does not:
The best way to cut carbon pollution is to make up to 1000 of our biggest polluters pay for every tonne of carbon pollution they generate. Not households. Not small businesses. Just the top 1000 polluters. We know some industries will pass some of these costs onto consumers, which is why we will give more than half of the money raised back to families who need the most help with their cost of living.
Such shameless deceit should make Gillard the object of mockery among Canberra journalists.
Cold as the day was, I’m not sure Ross Garnaut chose the right backdrop for delivering his homily on Sky News on the need to cut emissions: